According to a study done by BuddyMedia, asking questions with the word “why” on Facebook produces the lowest level of engagement. For many higher ed institutions, measuring “engagement” on Facebook (and other social media site) is the holy grail of higher ed marketers.
Now I’m no stranger to engagement strategies and I understand why communications folks want to produce engagement for their posts, but should higher ed focus on their own meaning and measurement or should we follow the lead of corporate social media marketers?
There’s a disconnect between general corporate social media best practices and the core mission of educational institutions. Unfortunately in trying to keep up with the latest buzz online, colleges have asked, hired and demanded their institution have more likes.
The most frequent questions I receive from people are “How do I get more likes?” and “Which posts produce the most amount of engagement?”
Lately I’ve been coming across more and more evidence that makes me question the direction social media in higher education is going. A recent comment by a social media manager stated:
“The most engaging post I’ve ever had on Facebook was a picture of jar of peanut butter that we posted on National Peanut Butter Day.”
According to most social media experts, these type of posts show an engaged community, brand affinity and successful engagement, however, I can’t help but ask “why?”
Just the other day Seth Godin wrote a post about the importance of asking why, and if you haven’t seen this amazing TED Talk, getting to the core of “why” is how great leaders inspire action.
In light of the current state of our economy, perhaps we need institutions asking why. It may not produce the most amount of likes.
The Buddy Media article goes on to say: “Avoid asking “why” questions because this may be seen as intrusive and/or challenging.” Isn’t education’s goal to challenge a student’s world view and train them to ask tough questions?
We shouldn’t be training our students to be passive social media followers; what our country needs now is active future leaders. And leaders ask why.
Social media shouldn’t be about liking and following – it’s about leading and caring. I understand why likes and followers is touted as supreme success metrics, but I am asking you to dig a little deeper and ask why.